We are keenly following the events at Konkola Copper Mines Plc (KCM), where it has now emerged, that the Patriotic Front (PF) regime, through the Provisional Liquidator Mr. Milingo Lungu, has unilaterally and against all due process, decided to split KCM into Two (2) distinct arms of the business – separating the smelter from the rest of the business.
We note that this move may have been necessitated by clandestine discussions between the PF government and a would be investor, with the latter only interested in taking over the viable business arm of KCM – the smelter, while government will be left to grapple with all the toxic liabilities of the company; which include local suppliers and contractors’ payments, as well as workers’ severance packages which are unlikely to be paid once the smelter has been handed over to the government’s preferred investor.
We further note that this move, bordering on an illegality, will not only injure the investor confidence in our mining business environment, but it will potentially expose Zambia to a $2bn compensation claim by the original investor.
We take cognisance, that the working culture of Vedanta in Zambia could have been more productive and delivered better and fairer benefits for both the investor and our people, and further that more needs to be done to realign the entire extractive industry so that Zambians get a fair share of our country’s mineral endowments.
However, we do not subscribe to the culture of unilateral, hostile takeover and sale of private company assets by the PF regime without any regard to due process.
The UPND will endeavour, as a matter of priority, work towards improving predictability, transparency and accountability in the manner Zambia’s mineral wealth is exploited so that we can deliver fair returns for both investors and our people.
UPND Presidential Spokesperson
2 January 2021.